Wallichia oblongifolia

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Wallichia (wahl-lik-EE-ah) oblongifolia
Wallichia oblongifolia female flowers.jpg
Female flowers. Photo by Paul Craft.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Wallichia (wahl-lik-EE-ah)
Species: oblongifolia
Wallichia densiflora
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Himalayan dwarf fishtail palm

Habitat and Distribution

Assam, China South-Central, East Himalaya, Myanmar, Nepal, and West Himalaya.
Los Angeles CA. Photo by Geoff Stein.
Found in humid forests in, Yunnan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura, and Uttar Pradesh (Gharwal Himalaya). Lowland or montane rain forests, especially in rocky places on steep slopes; 200-1200 m.

Wallichia oblongifolia is found in North India, Himalayas. Found in humid forests in China, Yunnan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura, and Uttar Pradesh (Gharwal Himalaya) where it grows up to elevations of 1600 m.


Hight, up to 18 feet tall (6 m). Spread, to 12 ft. Clustering and acaulescent. Flower stalk coming from among the leaves. Leaves are dark green, and arching, are bright silvery-white underneath and divided into fishtail-like leaflets. Fruit, 0.5 inch in diameter (1.2 cm) ovoid, seed round. Editing by edric.

Small, clustering palm, in dense clumps, 2-3 m (6.5-10 ft) tall, usually with very short trunks. with dark green, arching fronds, which are bright silvery-white underneath and are divided into fishtail-like leaflets.

Stems clustered, short and subterranean or to 1 m tall, to 40 cm in diam. Leaves spirally arranged; petioles to 2 m; rachis 1.5-2.5 m; pinnae 16 or 17 per side of rachis, ± oblong, with several lobes, regularly and alternately arranged, spreading in same plane, proximal 2 or 3 pinnae in a cluster, smallest erect; middle pinnae 45-56 × 7-12 cm, widest near apex. Inflorescences unisexual, male and female borne on separate stems; male inflorescences pendulous, not seen in their entirety; rachillae many, at least to 12 cm; male flowers 7-10 mm; stamens 6; female inflorescences to 1 m, horizontally spreading; rachillae 16-32, to 35 cm; female flowers to 6 mm. Fruits greenish brown to reddish, ovoid to ellipsoid, to 1.5 × 0.8 cm. (efloras.org) Editing by edric.


Min. Temperature: 25°F (-4°C). Water Requirements: Abundant water. Sun Requirements: Light shade to shade. Germination: difficult and irregular. Warm, sheltered, and moist. Tolerant of light frost. Cold Hardiness Zone: 9b

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Comments and Curiosities

Leaves: The leaves are spirally arranged or distichous, pinnate and induplicat. The leaf sheath often extends beyond the petiole and so forms a ligule. Over time it breaks down to black fibers. The petiole is well developed. The leaflets are simply folded and linear-lanceolate. They are irregularly rhombic or deeply lobed, sometimes auriculate at the base. The upper leaf surface is glabrous, the lower surface densely covered with hairs and dandruff.

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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